Politics & Policy

Demonization of Israel for Dummies

The response of Craig Mokhiber, deputy director of the New York Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, to my article “Dithering on Durban II,” provides a case study in the U.N.-driven demonization of Israel. The step-by-step game plan — repeated for years across the system — Mokhiber obligingly disseminates.

‐Step Two: Pretend the critic is incapable of following U.N. events or ignorant of the intricacies of U.N. affairs. In this case, Mokhiber begins by claiming my criticism of his remarks couldn’t possibly be accurate as “…she was not even present.”

Unfortunately for Mokhiber, I ensured his remarks were taped and commented on them verbatim.

She then suggests, rather astoundingly, that Palestinians have not been persecuted in the occupied territories. In my view, this is the best argument for the need for an international process, like Durban, to combat racism. The fact that persecution continues is reason enough…

One more shot of U.N. adrenaline for proponents of Zionism-is-racism and apartheid-Israel.

‐Step Four: Accuse those who object to Israel’s treatment at the U.N. of propagating the idea that Israel can do no wrong.

I assume that the pique evident in Bayefsky’s piece comes from her ideological conviction that any discussion of Israel’s human rights record is simply unacceptable.

The proverbial straw man. A fiction never uttered by anyone, anywhere.

…the advancement of a common agenda for humanity…Bayefsky does not share this agenda…

Cutting to the chase, if Jews are really interested in human rights they should grin and bear it for the sake of that common agenda, the greater good — albeit no one suggests building a human rights regime on the inequality of any other minority.

‐Step Six: Pull that human rights flag tight and proclaim undying commitment to the universal application of human rights; all suffering is equal; there are no hierarchies; this is about being even-handed.

We stand with the victim, regardless of who the perpetrator may be.

It’s just that the U.N.-driven idea of being even-handed is to label Palestinians as victims of Israeli racism while the perpetrators of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are abstract entities.

‐Step Seven: Given that virtually no one is likely to read the actual text of a U.N. document — misrepresent its contents. Don’t give any hint as to where to find the controversial words among the 341 paragraphs.

Readers should be “reading the Durban Declaration and judging for themselves whether it is in any way offensive or . . . a worthy platform for the international community’s struggle against the continuing scourge of racism.”

So here they are. The Durban Declaration says: “Victims of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance…63. We are concerned about the plight of the Palestinian people under foreign occupation…”

‐Step Eight: Blame everything on U.N. member states. Pretend U.N. officials are just ignorant, powerless cogs in the wheel.

The Durban process…is an intergovernmental process established by governments…It is thus the governments themselves that are ultimately responsible for it.

As if bigots have no human form. But then again Mokhiber actually doesn’t deny that while he was an NGO representative he claimed that “One of the features of the violence that is perpetrated against the Palestinians is [that it is] random. It is perpetrated against the elderly, the infirm, anyone who happens to be a non-Jewish member of that society. It is clearly racist violence.” In fact, he makes no attempt whatsoever to disavow those words. Except now he is a senior U.N. “human rights” official in a position to put his beliefs into practice.

By the way, the first substantive Durban Preparatory Committee session, heavily orchestrated by its Libyan chairperson, ended a week ago in Geneva and confirmed the prognosis I gave in my original February article. Durban II, regardless of its ultimate venue, is being tailor-made to convert human rights abusers into victims, undermine the essential freedoms of democratic society as a “defamation” of Islam, and provide one more U.N. platform to demonize Israel by manufacturing a Jewish-racism connection. In the old days it was called anti-Semitism. At today’s U.N., it’s called human rights.

 – Anne Bayefsky is senior fellow at the Hudson Institute. She also serves as the director of the Touro Institute for Human Rights and the Holocaust and as the editor of EYEontheUN.org.

Members of the National Review editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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